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Old 22-10-2003, 22:39   #1
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Location: back on Gold Coast after sailing north to Thailand then east to Pacific via Irian Jaya, PNG & Solomons
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Learned from Bitter Experience Rule 103 - Never Drop Anchor Near Derelict Wharves

I guess I will be a frequent contributor to this section.

Once I was anchored off the inland side of Fraser Island which is the largest sand island in the world (I think) off the Queensland coast in Oz. The island used to be logged but is now world heritage listed. It was blowing strongly offshore and you felt the gusts if you were not in the lee of the tall sand dunes. The water dropped rapidly away to over 30 metres within 50 metres of the flat sand beach that formed a narrow strip between the inland waterway, the Great Sandy Strait and the sand dunes.

After a few attempts I had managed to set my 55 lb Delta (my cat is only 33 ft long, but I consider it insurance). The sun was setting and we had settled down for dinner when the whole boat made a huge shudder and I heard a bang. Not wanting to break rule #102 (always investigate the source of any funny noises, though this noise was far from funny) I went on deck and looked around. It was a bit windier and we seemed a little further from the beach than I remembered but nothing else seemed amiss. I decided to check our GOPS position. When I turned on the instruments I doscovered that instead of being in 2 metres of water we were now in 30! I had put out 20 metres of chain and when I looked the chain was dead straight down and straining against a heavyload as the wind increased from offshore. The anchor had dropped straight off the edge of the shallows and the boat had drifted until it suddenly snagged some piece of machinery below. We had anchored off an old derlict timber cutters wharf and some discarded item had caught us.

I started the engines and attempted to pull up the anchor. It was stuck fast. I got the wife to let out another 20 metres of chain then powered into it after securing the chain on the samson post to take the strain off the winch. She stood back and grimaced as with an almighty bang the chain took up. With a huge amount of luck we had dislodged the fouled anchor. There was a nasty ding on the Delta but it came up.

Old wharves = a fouled bottom.
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Old 30-10-2003, 00:39   #2
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Hmm, great minds think alike...: 55 lbs Delta on 33' boat.

Own same combo.....
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Old 28-11-2007, 20:34   #3
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Now that's what I call an anchor. I never dragged the 45 pound CQR I used on my 9 ton 34' boat, in maybe a hundred anchorages, but I used to set it pretty smartly. I always anchored with all chain, except for once when in very deep water. I broke an anchor chain once, I set it so smartly, sailing downwind at a good clip. This was in Russel, near Opua, North Island, NZ. I may have strained the chain in Pago Pago, American Samoa. I got so wrapped around a coral head there in about 100' of water that I had to hire a diver to extract it. - Ah, Pago Pago. I took a bunch of yachties for a day sail there. Trevor Tutt, who sailed there from New Zealand in a Wharram cat he had built, climbed my mast (climbed up my battens, that is-easy to do with a junk rig,) for a look around. He was wearing a pareau (aka sulu, a wrap-around skirt worn by both sexes in the S. Pacific.) He forgot that he wasn't wearing any underwear, until we all pointed this out to him. Herb Payson went on this daysail. He wrote a bunch of amusing articles for sailing magazines, but seemed to be rather morose and worried in person.
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Old 21-01-2011, 18:11   #4
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I hooked a long liner in Pago Pago. It took some divers all day to get the anchor gear up. They were very kind to me.
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